Bringing a Vital Resource to Rural Mongolia
Tsegemed lives and raises her young family in rural Shuvuu, Mongolia—her traditional ger, or one-room tent, is set against the stunning backdrop of the country’s majestic landscape. Yet everyday life is far from idyllic. With no running water at home, and just a single community bathroom shared among more than 350 impoverished families who live here, Tsegemed must rely on an outside source for the 3-4 gallons of water she, her husband and children need each day.
Sadly, her story isn’t unique. Throughout Tsegemed’s landlocked country, water scarcity—and deteriorating water quality—present a looming threat to Mongolians’ health and way of life. Nearly one third of the population lives in remote areas that lack basic infrastructure, and these residents must travel long distances to collect water … often, from unprotected lakes and streams contaminated by runoff from seasonal flooding, as well as human and animal waste. For nomadic herders, the situation is even more complicated. As adverse weather affects the natural water supplies they depend upon to sustain their livestock, they must move more and more frequently—which takes them further away from the clean water they need for themselves.
“Water is something that is so automatic for many people,” says Father Jaroslav Vracovský, a Salesian missionary who serves in Shuvuu. “But here it is so precious.”
For this reason, Fr. Jaroslav and his fellow missionaries in Mongolia are committed to bringing clean water into the communities where they serve—a goal that’s become even more urgent amid the COVID-19 pandemic, when frequent handwashing is critical.
Thanks to their efforts—and the support of our many generous friends—they are succeeding, one well at a time.
In Shuvuu, where Salesian missionaries first arrived in 2016, residents enjoy a safe, clean, accessible source of water right in their own backyard. Recent upgrades to the original well mean that Tsegemed doesn’t have to worry about where to find the water she needs for cooking, washing and cleaning—and she can rest easier knowing that her family can practice frequent handwashing to protect against illness. So, too, can Shuvuu’s hundreds of other families.
Yet many of Mongolia’s other remote communities aren’t as fortunate … yet.
“Our hope,” says Brother Andrew Le Phuong, director of the Salesian Planning and Development Office in Ulaanbaatar, “is that our clean water services … will become better known and attract more and more generous people around the world to contribute to our mission.”
To see the impact of clean water in Mongolia, watch this video. If you would like to make a gift to our dedicated Clean Water Initiative, which benefits families like Tsegemed’s in Mongolia and around the globe, you may do so here.
Our mission works to bring safe, clean water to people in every community where we serve. What’s your mission?
Learn more about our work in Mongolia.